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Bush Confident Cheney Will Be Exonerated - 2002-07-17

President Bush is standing by his vice president as federal investigators look into Dick Cheney's past business activities. The president says he is confident a federal probe will show Mr. Cheney did nothing wrong during the years he served as head of the Halliburton Company.

The government agency that oversees the activities of American corporations is investigating Halliburton's accounting procedures.

President Bush said he is sure the Securities and Exchange Commission will find no evidence of wrongdoing by Dick Cheney. "That matter will run its course, the Halliburton investigation, and the facts will come out at some point in time," he added.

Speaking at a press conference with the president of Poland, Mr. Bush stressed he has confidence in Vice President Cheney. "He is doing a heck of a good job," he said. "When I picked him, I knew he was a fine business leader and a fine, experienced man."

Mr. Bush was also asked about his own business practices more than a decade ago when he served on the board of directors of Harken Oil company. Questions have been raised about his sale of company stock. But the president said once again that the matter was investigated by the SEC, and the case was dropped.

Democrats in Congress, however, say the investigations of Halliburton and Harken raise doubts about the Bush administration's ability to deal with a series of corporate scandals. They say the president is now asking businesses to curtail the same activities he condoned during his days in the private sector.

President Bush has said Democrats are focusing on his past business activities for purely political reasons. At the press conference, he stressed they should focus on the state of the American economy, and the need to restore consumer confidence in corporate America. He said, "The key thing for the American people is to realize that the fundamentals for economic vitality and growth are there."

Mr. Bush went on to say that despite the current slide in the stock market, he is optimistic about the nation's economic future.